Federations seeking expressions of interest as Walking Football becomes a reality

Conjured in 2011 by Chesterfield FC in England, Walking Football is a modified version of the beautiful game, designed to keep people active no matter their age or fitness limitations.

Now, after the original announcement of the joint initiative between the Australian Federal Government and Football Federation Australia in January, a national Walking Football program has been rolled out across the country, with the full support of all nine state/territory Member Federations.

With over 800 clubs now registered in the United Kingdom, the less intense version of the game has proven a resounding success. With a particular emphasis on the physical fitness benefits of remaining active throughout middle-age and well into the retirement years, the potential health and social benefits are considerable.

The Federal Government has invested in those potential benefits for all Australians as they move into their senior years. It developed the Move it Aus – Better Ageing grant program, to which FFA successfully applied and the initiative was officially launched earlier in the year at Perth’s Inglewood United Soccer Club.

Months of financial, structural and logistical planning by governing bodies across the nation followed. Such diligence was required in order to bring the vision to life and provide the vehicle to potentially connect or reconnect older Australians to football; allowing them to enjoy the thrill of hitting the back of the net, regardless of the power behind the shot.

Along with the intention of keeping fans involved in the game no matter their age, Walking Football also stands to be a valuable community activity; providing support and networking opportunities for many older Australians.

Often widowed or isolated through family fragmentation, many crave the sense of community so often taken for granted by those still in the work force and/or actively socialising.

Walking Football stands to be a valuable activity, shared by like-minded people, seeking a social and physical outlet.

In addition, the initiative will provide new comers with the opportunity to enjoy the game of football without fear of injury or intimidation, with one foot remaining on the ground at all times and no slide tackles permitted.

Played on a smaller pitch and with reduced numbers (either 5×5 or 6×6), the game has been backed to the tune of A$1.8 million dollars. After the initial January announcement, Federations across the nation have spent immense time and energy in planning its implementation.

Now, with Australia’s summer season of football about to begin, it is time for those interested to act. An introductory video can be found at;

www.playfootball.com.au/ffa-walking-football?_ga=2.36150688.1872285948.1569278807-591840370.1569278807.

The short clip explains the basic principles behind not only the modified version of the game but also the major health and social benefits available to those interested in participating.

All contact details and the means to express interest and enrol can be found using the same link.

Thankfully, I am still able to enjoy the game at full speed. However, as we are all well aware, human bones begin to make some rather disturbing sounds as the years advance. Muscles tighten and our ability to run continuously for any length of time does wane.

As such, Walking Football looms as a potentially rewarding activity for those with a passion for the game, hoping to enjoy its complexity well into their advanced years.

Perhaps more importantly, it will also provide a space to talk about the game, relive the past and celebrate football in a supportive community that strengthens not only the body but also the spirit.

Staff Writer
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Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

The biggest Female Football Week to date draws to a close

Female Football week is at its climax across the country with each respective state firmly involved in what has been a monumental year of growth and perseverance with one of the hottest topics amongst the sporting plethora across the nation.

Symbolising the significant strides in which female football has made down under, off the back of its maiden World Cup hosting tenure.

Football Queensland throughout the grand occasion were busy shining a spotlight upon the continuous growth of participation, encouraging women of all ages to become involved and immersed within the global game.

Football Victoria – Commentary

Football Victoria (FV) celebrated women’s football week in style.

Round 8 of the National Premier League Women’s (NPLW) competition within Victoria was unique throughout its coverage, with every match throughout the round featuring a female commentator.

A monumental feat spearheaded by the FV Commentary team, this was the first time an all female commentary round was executed.

Football Queensland

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his appreciation for the momentous occasion via the FQ website.

“While celebrations like FFW serve as a crucial milestone in FQ’s journey towards achieving 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and helps to further reinforce our commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, our support is not confined to this week, as we remain dedicated to prioritising our female football community year-round.”

Football Queensland – Award Ceremony

Paying homage to Referees, Club Volunteers, Players and Community Champions of the year was conducted through awards up for grabs.

FQ showcased an award ceremony towards multiple facets of football throughout the state.

A nice incentive dedicated to the recognition and appraisal of the hard work undertaken by different areas of football.

The Female Football Week club of the year was awarded to Central Football Club following their extraordinary contribution to female football within Queensland.

Displayed throughout the clubs commitment to female football, the club are fully dedicated to the advancement of women’s football.

Harvesting a fostering environment throughout the club, alongside the nourishment of young promising female footballers has been symbolised by FQ.

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